Winter weather conditions such as accumulated snow, extreme cold, blizzards, and ice are a common occurrence in Canada. As a business owner, or someone leasing a commercial property, you’re responsible for protecting your property and the safety of others.

Here are some key areas business owners may want to keep an eye on, to prevent any potential damage:

Snow-covered roofs

Although roofs are built to withstand accumulated snow, it’s best to avoid letting excess snow or ice accumulate, as this can create ice dams, which can prevent drainage and end up damaging your roof covering as well as the structure of your property.

As a general rule, when snow and ice on a roof exceeds 6 inches, that’s when it should be removed. Common risks that should be considered when attempting snow removal include falling, electrocution, and heart attacks. Removing snow from a roof can be risky, so it’s important that employers, owners, and workers use safe work methods when attempting this.

Some safety tips to consider before removing snow from a roof:

  • Identify any hazards and eliminate or limit/control them.
  • Locate where electrical installations are placed.
  • Set up a safety perimeter to keep people walking near the building at a safe distance.
  • Ensure there is good water drainage.
  • Use tools like wood or plastic shovels, and rubber mallets to break up ice.
  • Avoid using sharp tools like axes or picks, and avoid using excessive heat (like welding torches), as they may damage the roof covering.
  • If using de-icing salt, keep in mind that it can accelerate the corrosion of metal components on the roof.

If removing snow from a roof is too risky for a business, there are qualified snow and ice removal professionals that can take on the task. Not only will they have the right equipment, they’ll also know the best techniques to use to remove snow and ice from a roof safely.

Parking lots, sidewalks, exits, and stairs

The outside perimeter of a business is also a key area owners should keep a close eye on. Snowfall and cold weather are the perfect combination for creating risky situations that can cause accidents. Whether it be icy and slippery surfaces or obstructed emergency exits, doors, and outdoor stairs, these are just some of the things owners need to take responsibility for to mitigate their risks.

Emergency services and fire department connections

Another key consideration to keep in mind is emergency services and fire department vehicles. Do not let snow accumulate in locations where private hydrants and fire department connections (fire sprinkler system) are located.

Natural gas inlet

If a business uses natural gas appliances, make sure the gas inlet remains unobstructed from outdoor plants and greenery, snow, ice, and other materials.

Take the time to review these areas to keep damage at a minimum and maximize safety for employees, clients, and your business. For more information on keeping employees and your company safe in the winter, visit our blog today.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.